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Officials abandon effort to retrieve body

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - The Coconino County sheriff's office has given up on efforts to recover the body of a South Dakota man who plunged to his death in northern Arizona's Little Colorado River gorge in January.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - The Coconino County sheriff's office has given up on efforts to recover the body of a South Dakota man who plunged to his death in northern Arizona's Little Colorado River gorge in January.

Sheriff Bill Pribil said the body is believed to be that of 44-year-old Todd R. Delage of Milbank, S.D., although there's no way to be absolutely certain unless the body is recovered. The death is being treated as a suicide.

Pribil said the body is about 800 feet below the rim of the rugged gorge on the side of a rock face too steep and treacherous to allow rescuers to approach, either by air or by rappelling down the rock face.

Witnesses saw Delage's car pull into a scenic overlook on Jan. 19, and an unsuccessful helicopter and ground search was launched four days later after Navajo Nation police reported that his car was still there.

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